Sixteen-year-old Rylee Rogers of Brazil, Indiana was killed Saturday, July 27th, in a car accident. The soon-to-be junior at Northview High School went to volleyball practice on Friday morning, followed by a late-night shift at McDonald’s, where she worked.
Early Saturday morning, Rogers drove her Chevy Malibu to her job again when she crossed the center line and collided with an oncoming vehicle, a Dodge Ram truck with a flatbed trailer. The accident was reported at 6:48 AM and Rogers was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of her injuries.
Rogers played for the Intensity Travel Team in Paris, Illinois and, as a sophomore, she was a six-rotation setter on the Junior Varsity team. This season, Rogers would make the Varsity team at Northview.
Northview coach Erica Garrison said, “[Making Varsity] would have meant the world to her. I was so excited to see her face when I told her. She loved volleyball more than anyone – more than me. Her life revolves around volleyball, travel volleyball, and work. She had a lot of knowledge of the game. She would have been a DS for Varsity and she would have just been happy to play volleyball.”
Garrison said that Rogers was one of the hardest workers on the team and always gave her best. To prepare for her junior season, she went to everything – open gyms, spring workouts, summer camps, and even took Advanced P.E. to stay in shape and ready for volleyball.
“Rylee was a selfless teammate,” said Garrison. “She just wanted to be part of something and wanted the best for her team. What she brought to the program was the amount of dedication you want from every player. You never had to talk her into coming. She was always there.”
The Northview Knights have retired Rylee’s jersey number – 12. Because Rogers wouldn’t have missed a match, the team will leave a spot on the bench open during every game with her jersey draped over one of the chairs. By hosting a tournament in Rogers’ honor each season, the volleyball program hopes to create and award a scholarship to a volleyball player each season.
Her mother, Karen, told WTHI-TV that her daughter “was the sweetest girl ever. She would do anything for anyone and was best friends with her older sister.”
Ryan Rogers, Rylee’s father, began coaching his daughter’s travel team a year ago. He told said that he hopes to continue coaching.
“That’s how, myself, I’m going to keep Rylee and I alive,” he said.
“I’m not sure where we go from here,” added Garrison. “My team is broken without her. We are taking it day by day and plan to have another successful season in her honor. It’s brought us even closer and made us realize how precious life is.”
The Northview Knights Twitter page has also released this statement:
“Or thoughts and prayers go out to her family, volleyball team, and entire Northview community as we mourn the loss of one of our own.”